It's "Museums on Us" weekend, and time to take a look at what might be new around town. Usually that means the Orlando Museum of Art and the Mennello Museum of American Art. Sometimes they have lovely exhibits, and we might go back to take another look at some of what we saw last October.

But the museum websites and the descriptions of new exhibits are not inspiring this month. Here, from the Mennello's site, are a couple of paragraphs that could not possibly have been designed to draw us in.

Many of the artists presented here approach their creative practices conceptually and methodologically, as a means of researching, solving, expressing, and effectively visualizing increasingly complex theories and stylistic ideas across time and disciplines. They have drawn upon personal experience, art history, advances in science, and popular culture to create works that unify formal art theory with current understandings in fields including anthropology, biology, math, philosophy, physics, and psychology. Broadly, the themes explored by the artists fall into reobserving and reimagining of traditional subject matter and the emotional content imbued in still lifes, landscape, and the figure.

“The work ... presented in this exhibition challenges perceptions of language, identity, preservation, and adaptation in both real and hypothetical worlds,” said Katherine Page, curator of art and education, Mennello Museum. “I am especially interested in artistic production, as its contextualizing framework runs parallel to the scientific method that combines the decades-long history of science, printmaking, and modern and postmodern art developments. The artists here are researchers, observers, experimenters, and publishers. As publishers, they share their exciting results—renderings of creation, communication, and conceptualization with a public beyond traditional, specialized academic fields.”


I'm not picking on the Mennello in particular. This kind of verbiage abounds in art museums all over. I'm accustomed to dealing with technical language in other fields, and I grant that maybe this makes sense in the higher echelons of the art world, but to the hoi polloi like me it's more than incomprehensible: it sounds utterly irrational. Why would I want to spend time with art that "challenges perceptions of language, identity, preservation, and adaptation in both real and hypothetical worlds"? When I go to an art museum, I'm seeking the good, the true, and the beautiful. Ordinary life is enough of a challenge for me.

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. — Buckminster Fuller

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 4, 2022 at 12:29 pm | Edit
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